Toughie 2599 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2599

Toughie No 2599 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A Beam Toughie with, I thought, a couple of bits of extra sneakiness this time. My favourite clues are both in the Downs – 8d and 22d

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Prophecy about wood is going round (8)
FORECAST A large wood is ‘going round’ the Latin abbreviation meaning about

9a    Speaker uttered almost drivel on reflection (6)
ORATOR Almost all of a synonym for spoken (uttered) and a reversal (on reflection) of some drivel

10a    Yours truly repulsed by sex thing (4)
ITEM A reversal (repulsed) of how Beam might say ‘yours truly’ goes after (by) an informal term for sex appeal

11a    Equalise score holding United at last (10)
EVENTUALLY A verb meaning to equalise and a score, the latter ‘holding’ the abbreviation for United

12a    Tap and wrench the thing, they say (6)
FAUCET An American word for a tap is obtained from a homophone (they say) of a verb meaning to wrench and an informal term for the [very] thing

14a    Pockets found in pants? (8)
TROUSERS Slang for stealing money (pockets) or an informal term for an item of clothing

15a    Polynesian tattoo needing addition without filling (6)
TONGAN The outside letters (without filling) of TattoO NeedinG AdditioN

17a    Produces vegetables around bottom of smallholding (6)
BEGETS Some vegetables go around the bottom or last letter of smallholdinG

20a    Breast firstly coated with leftover supreme (8)
UNBEATEN The first letter of Breast ‘coated’ with a word used to describe leftover food

22a    Church speculation facing endless netherworld (6)
BETHEL A method of speculation and the more usual name for the netherworld without its final letter (endless)

23a    Wholesome eating, eating top-class grain occasionally (10)
NOURISHING Slang for eating ‘eating’ the letter meaning top-class and the occasional letters of gRaIn

24a    Shakespeare is deplatformed, reportedly (4)
BARD A homophone (reportedly) of a word meaning denied an opportunity to speak (deplatformed)

25a    Iron, not completely rigid, showing decay (6)
FESTER The chemical symbol for iron and almost all (not completely) of a synonym for rigid

26a    What backs up containing downpour? (8)
DRAINAGE A reversal (backs up) of an archaic interjection meaning ‘what’ containing a downpour


1d    Shrink using association without therapy’s mean (8)
CONTRACT Some association goes outside (without) the ‘mean’ or middle letter of theRapy

2d    Bright expression across mouth initially (4)
BEAM The initial letters of Bright Expression Across Mouth

3d    Worst admitting a Republican is most vacant (6)
BAREST A synonym for worst in the sense of get the better of ‘admitting’ A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Republican

4d    School, extremely fine, raised comment (8)
FOOTNOTE A reversal (raised) of a famous public school, an adverb meaning extremely and the abbreviation for Fine

5d    Badgering male animal protecting animal males (10)
HARASSMENT A male deer ‘protecting’ another animal and some males

6d    One sweats, making ladies almost run (6)
TOILER Almost all of a place of  ‘convenience’ (for either ladies or gentlemen) and the cricket abbreviation for Run

8d    A score producing kisses? (6)
TWENTY The Roman numerals for a score look like kisses written at the end of a letter or text!

13d    Devote energy in criminal’s case (10)
CONSECRATE The abbreviation for Energy inserted between an informal way of saying criminal’s and a case

16d    Sweetheart is trying to acquire skill (8)
ARTISTRY Hidden in (to acquire) sweetheART IS TRYing

18d    Government division accommodates English Queen (8)
STEERAGE A division ‘accommodates’ the abbreviation for English and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

19d    Married with one dropped being released (6)
UNTIED Drop the letter that looks like a one further down a synonym for married

21d    Abseil at the centre, shortly climbing ropes (6)
NOOSES A reversal (climbing) of the centre letters of abSEil and an adverb meaning shortly

22d    Scrounger in pub purchasing ‘substantial meal’ (6)
BEGGAR A pub ‘purchasing’ a food item, which, were it covered in sausage meat and breadcrumbs and then deep-friend,  would meet the Covid Tier 2 definition of a ‘substantial meal’ thus allowing a patron of the pub to purchase an alcoholic drink to accompany it!

24d    Pretty heartless getting thin (4)
BONY Remove the middle letter (heartless) from a synonym for pretty


20 comments on “Toughie 2599

  1. Solved whilst watching the shambles that is the cricket. Parsing and reading the blog in about ten minutes when India have scored the few runs they need

  2. A nice variety of clues. Needed hints to get the parsing of 26a. 14a and 8d were my favourites. Thanks to CS and Beam.

  3. Beam has upped his trickiness a bit this week (and all the better for it). Thanks to him and CS.
    The clues I liked best were 26a, 8d and 22d (the one I liked least was 12a).

  4. I must be missing something at 22d; I thought it was pretty straightforward, but then CS’s elaboration on ‘substantial meal’, Covid, etc. has escaped me. Although I bunged-in the right answer for 18d as my LOI, I’d never seen that term applied to ‘government’ before. Had to use my 5 electronic letters to finish, but I did finally. Enjoyed the solve, especially Beam’s tight, terse surfaces. 8d, 4d,& 15a top my list of goodies. Thanks to CS and Beam.

    1. There has been protracted debate as to whether a “Scotch Egg” qualifies as a “substantial meal” in Covid regulations for pubs.

  5. That was right on the edge of my Toughie ability but nevertheless very enjoyable.

    I would have said that both 12a and 22a were American words. Chambers agrees in the former case but not the latter.

    I worried a little about the definition for 18d at first, but on reflection it makes sense as it is what the Government should be providing it for the nation.

    My podium selection was 24a, 26a & 22d.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

    1. I think of 22a as Welsh, rather than American. I understand, from the notes to my copy of ‘Moby Dick’, that there is a Seaman’s Bethel in New Bedford but Melville calls it a chapel.

  6. 22ac was new to me and parsing 26ac required help, thanks CS.
    Otherwise manageable and cleanly clued.
    Thanks to Beam for laughs at 22d and 8d.

  7. A slightly tricky but very enjoyable Toughie this afternoon. 26a became my favourite once I had fully parsed and understood the clue. I also liked 8d. 12a had me wondering how such an awful clue could spoil what was otherwise a terrific puzzle.

    My thanks to Beam for the challenge and to CS.

  8. A really enjoyable solve completed immediately after finishing writing the cryptic blog. A prize in every clue as usual with this setter. 22 across reminded me of helping to move a friend from Hinckley to Mallaig driving a seven and a half ton fully laden wagon towing an overloaded trailer carrying a Ford Transit Van and a motorboat. We travelled overnight during which it snowed all the way. The accelerator cable froze up for a while and the clutch cable snapped but we made it in about twenty hours. We arrived in Mallaig late on a Sunday afternoon to find everywhere shut except for The Fisherman’s Bethel where we bought the only thing on offer. Egg chips and baked beans with bread and butter and a gallon of hot sweet tea. All for about three pence. One of the best meals of my life. Thanks for the reminder and the challenge Mr RayT. Thanks to CrypticSue for her wise blog

  9. I’m in the “right at the limits of my solving ability” camp this afternoon. Having said that a year ago it would have been beyond me. Needed the hint to parse 8d but got the rest pretty much spot on, so I’m a happy bunny. Favourite was 4d with numerous others coming close. Many thanks to Beam and CS.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this tough but doable puzzle which provided some great penny drop moments. No mind bending wordplay, just clever and concise trickery. I must admit to biffing a few from the definition and checkers so thanks to CS for the clear explanations.
    I particularly liked 23a, the excellent lurker at 16d, in which the use of “sweetheart” threw me off the scent, plus 4,6&8d. I even thought the homophone at 12a was good fun.
    Many thanks to Beam too for his usual excellence.

  11. A great challenge which fell with no recourse to help, unlike previous Thursdays of late. I liked 3d for the misdirection, but 23a was COTD for me. I’m sure there are things I missed, so I shall now go through the hints. Thanks to CS for them in advance, and to Stick Insect.

  12. Real life got in the way today – car that was booked in for a service and MOT refused to start so all the plans were foiled. As a result, I didn’t look at this until much later in the day and found it tougher than usual. Quite relieved to read that others have said the same, thought it was just my discombobulation!
    22d made me laugh so gets a place on the podium along with 26a & 8d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T/Beam and thanks to CS for the review.

  13. We agree that this was a little tougher than Beam puzzles often are and with all the usual delightful penny-drop moments.
    Word count has a maximum of seven once again.
    Loved it.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

  14. My last two in were 18d and 26a, not having much confidence in either. I could see how they could be parsed but I didn’t like the definition in 18d and couldn’t understand the wordplay in 26a.

  15. Resisted the strong urge to do this straight after the back pager this morning & saved it for this evening. Glad that I did because it was a cracker & a really enjoyable solve. It was surprisingly brisk progress until grinding to a halt with 5 to go & then it was a case of identify the definition & work backwards, which was the case for 5&13d & 23a. The other 2 head scratchers were 15&17a. It took an embarrassingly long time to think of the right veg to put round the G & annoyingly the only thing to slightly take the shine off an otherwise fully parsed finish was with 15a. Here I realised AN was addition without the filling but couldn’t figure out what tong had to do with tattoo. Pick of the clues, all of which I thought excellent, was a coin toss between the wonderfully concise 24a & the clever 8d (oft called an apple in bookie parlance)
    With thanks to Mr T & to CS for the review.

  16. Pleasantly surprised to finish after first pass only revealed 14a. This was a bit of a gimme clue, which is why it is my favourite as it gave me a foothold. 4*/3* Thanks to all.

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